Neville: Rooney over Cantona in my all-time XI

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Gary Neville has revealed he would pick Wayne Rooney over Eric Cantona up front in his perfect Manchester United XI.

While some might dispute the decision to put Rooney ahead of fellow legendary figures ‘King Eric’, Mark Hughes, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, Neville claims the current Red Devils captain is “those four players wrapped in one”.

I see a player showing greater maturity in taking on responsibility, in his manner on the pitch and his manner around people. He understands that people look up to him and that he can influence them

- Gary Neville

The former United right-back who now analyses Rooney’s performances for Sky Sports and as coaches him at international level, played with the other four stars when they were arguably at their peak, but would still opt for the 29-year-old to partner Cristiano Ronaldo in his side.

Speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo, the man who made 602 appearances for the Old Trafford giants, said: "I'd put Wayne Rooney up front with Cristiano Ronaldo in my all-time XI of Manchester United players I played with.

"Above Cantona, Hughes, Yorke and Cole. All great strikers, but Wayne has got qualities from all of those players. He's those four players wrapped in one."

Elaborating on those 'qualities', Neville said: "I see a player showing greater maturity in taking on responsibility, in his manner on the pitch and his manner around people. He understands that people look up to him.

"He's entered a new phase in his career. He knows he's not the up-and-coming youngster anymore, or even a player in the middle of his career. He realises that he's got vast experience from travelling a similar journey to David Beckham.

"He's had the media scrutiny, he's been sent off in the World Cup... nothing can shock him anymore and he's got an inner comfort from that. He knows that's what you get when you're the captain of Manchester United and England."

Neville was speaking at a time when Rooney is close to breaking records for both club and country. The England captain stands third in Manchester United’s all-time goalscorers list, 28 goals behind United legend Bobby Charlton’s total. Additionally, he is also currently just three shy of Charlton’s England record.

FFT100 Read the full Rooney feature as part of FFT's Best 100 Players in the World